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Large Grant Awarded for Mobile Shower Unit

The Diocese of San Diego received the largest United Thank Offering (UTO) grant that it has received in recent years: $65,771. This was the third largest domestic gift awarded this year by UTO. The money will fund a mobile shower unit. It will initially be deployed to places that already serve homeless people: St. Andrew’s, Pacific Beach; St. Anne’s, Oceanside; St. Peter’s, Del Mar and the Episcopal Church Center in Ocean Beach.

“I’m grateful to the United Thank Offering for this gift that will help restore people to dignity,” said the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes. “Their recent grant to our diocese will benefith homeless people and protect our beaches and waterways,” said the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

The funds will allow the diocese to purchase a two shower self-contained unit mounted on a 14-foot trailer, showers with faucets, two hand washing sinks, mirrors, soap dispensers towel hooks, flash heater, 120 gallon fresh water tank, 200 gallon grey water tank, generator, pumps and LP tanks. The unit can be used independently or connected to water, sewer and/or electrical utilities.

Juli Beth Hinds, parishioner at St. Peter’s, Del Mar came up with the idea. The Rev. Joseph Dirbas and the Rev. Robert Nelson round out the core team responsible for the shower unit.

United Thank Offering is entrusted to promote thank offerings, to receive the offerings, and to distribute the UTO monies to support mission and ministry throughout the Episcopal Church and in invited Provinces of the Anglican Communion in the developing world.

“No amount is too large or too small for UTO to consider,” said Jamie Wood, diocesan UTO coordinator. “This (summer) is the time to start thinking about applying for next year’s grants. They’re due to the Office of the Bishop by early January 2014.” For help applying, contact Jamie Wood, 619-225-1987.

UTO Sunday, a day designated for educating congregations about the organization, and for gathering all of the donations, is set for Sunday, October 20, 2013. Resources to support UTO Sunday are here: http://utochange.org/page6/page1/index.html

A list of all award winners for 2013 is here: http://www.utochange.org/page5/page22/index.html

The purpose of the program is to serve those in need by meeting one of life’s most basic human dignities–cleanliness. This seemingly simple act has the ability to impact lives in incredible way. The opportunity to maintain personal hygiene can reduce health problems, raise self-esteem and increase employment potential and social acceptance. Many homeless men, women, and children go without access to a shower or clean clothes for weeks or months at a time.

The mobile shower unit will be moved to sites where programs are already being offered to persons who are homeless: the Episcopal Church Center, Ocean Beach; St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea, Pacific Beach; St. Peter’s, Del Mar; St. Andrew’s, Encinitas; and St. Anne’s; Oceanside. A meeting of representatives of these congregations is scheduled for June 19, 2013, at 3:00 pm, at St. Peter’s, Del Mar. Any person interested is welcome to attend or to contact the Rev. Robert Nelson for further information: bobnelson1@hotmail.com.

In addition to the benefits to homeless people in our communities, all who use the oceans and coastal water ways will benefit as well. Regulatory documents and watershed plans for San Diego County’s rivers, beaches and lagoons list homelessness as a documented source of bacteria pollution. We believe that this program will reduce the bacteria and nutrient impacts on the regions water and beaches while improving the quality of life for homeless persons.


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